Relatives Of Missing Girl Plead Innocent

RAVENNA, Ohio (AP) - The grandmother and aunt of a 6-year-old girl who had been missing for five years pleaded innocent to charges that they kept the girl from her mother.

Nikki Jones, of Greensboro, N.C., received custody earlier this month of her daughter, Gail Perkins (pictured, right). Jones used a private investigator to find the girl who was living with her paternal grandmother in an apartment in Streetsboro, 25 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Grandmother Ruth Perkins and aunt Annette Perkins pleaded innocent Monday to misdemeanor charges of obstruction of justice and interference with custody.

Uncles Solomon and Allen Perkins face the same charges and will be arraigned Thursday in Portage County Municipal Court.

They all live at the same Streetsboro address and face up to six months in jail on each charge if convicted.

Jones said the girl's father, Adam Lee Perkins, took her daughter to Alabama in January 1997 to live with him and his mother. She said he was supposed to bring the girl back but never did. Perkins lives in North Carolina.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)